The North Carolina General Assembly passed the state budget on Friday, Sept. 22 when the final vote in the state House was taken.
Although the $30 billion budget finally won approval in the state House and Senate, it’s not quite over the finish line.
Governor Roy Cooper has three choices when it comes to bills passed by the legislature. He can sign them into law. He can veto them and send them back or he can sit on his hands doing nothing and the bill becomes law without any action by the governor in ten days.
Cooper, who is a Democrat, has said that he will not sign or veto the state budget passed by the Republican led legislature. Cooper has ten days to change his mind, but he announced on Friday that he would allow the budget to become law without his signature.
There is a lot in the budget the Cooper doesn’t like, but it also includes Medicaid expansion something Cooper has been trying to get passed since he first took office in early 2017. In 2019 Cooper vetoed the budget that didn’t include Medicaid expansion. The Republican legislature was unable to override the veto and the state operated without a new budget until 2021. In odd years the state passes a two year budget that is revised in even years.
While Medicaid expansion is in the budget, gambling expansion is not. One of the issues holding up passage of the budget was that the state Senate was in favor of including legislation to allow four new gambling casinos in North Carolina and the state House was not. The House won that battle, but the war over legalizing new casinos in North Carolina is far from over.
The budget includes an average raise of 7 percent for most state employees including teachers over the two year budget cycle. School bus drivers receive a 9 percent raise and Highway Patrol officers an 11 percent raise over the two year budget.
UNCG receives $8 million for upgrades to IT infrastructure and NCA&TSU received $25 million in recurring allocations to support efforts to become a R1 research institution, enhance agricultural research and extension programs and to establish the Engineering NC’s Future program.